10.9.2017

four steps to online safety

Cybercrime is a serious issue in today’s society — so much so that the Department of Homeland Security has made October National Cyber Security Awareness Month. The recent Equifax hack shows that no business, no matter how large, is immune to cyberattacks. You can never be certain your information is totally safe.

However, there are some simple steps you can take to protect yourself online and to recover in the event a cyber incident occurs.

  1. Change Passwords

You should change your online passwords a few times a year and make sure you use different passwords for different accounts. Many people don’t like this idea because they find passwords difficult to remember. The good news is that there has been something of a shift in online password generation.

Rather than stringing together a complex and meaningless series of letters, symbols and numbers, you can create long-tail passwords, even complete sentences, that make sense to you but are much harder for a hacker to crack with a brute force attack. Learn more about password security in “Beyond The Password: Identity & Access” whitepaper.

  1. Use Multi-Factor Authentication

Another tool called multi-factor authentication (MFA), or sometimes two-factor authentication, is a form of cyber security that requires two methods of authentication: a password and some other requirement unique to the user. This type of protection makes it exponentially harder for a hacker to impersonate you and steal your data.

Read more about MFA in the Buyer’s Guide to Multi-Factor Authentication from Optimal IdM.

  1. Be Social Media Savvy

It is surprising how many people still seem to forget that any information you post on social media is public. Even if you have privacy settings active, you need to be careful about what kind of information you post on your social media sites. Treat anything you say on social media as if you had shouted it out in the public square.

That means don’t post any personal information someone could use to steal your identity, including making sure any pictures you post don’t capture the image of your credit card or other financial information.

  1. Protect Your Computer

Make sure your firewall is on and your antivirus and antispyware software is up to date. Don’t download unfamiliar email attachments or anything before you verify its source, for that matter. And if you travel with your computer, do not leave it unattended. It only takes moments for an enterprising cybercriminal to invade your system.

If you are hacked, inform any relevant parties, such as your bank and credit card companies, as soon as possible. Change all your passwords and have your financial institutions issue new cards and account numbers. Have your computer professionally checked to make sure it is completely free of malware before using it again.

Identity is on the front lines of the cybersecurity battle. Learn more at Optimal IdM.